February 27, 2013 —
With mating season underway for Pennsylvania’s peregrine falcon population, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has launched its popular annual webcast.
This year’s events will be captured by new high-definition cameras that will stream the footage live on the Internet. The new cameras are expected to create crisper, more detailed images than in the past.
As in the past, viewers around the world will have a front-row seat at their computers as they observe the activities of the pair of peregrines who nest on a ledge of the Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg, PA.
According to the DEP, the resident male who has been at the ledge since 2005 has been challenged in recent weeks by another male peregrine. Such territorial battles can be intense. So far, the resident male has managed to defend the ledge and has begun mating with the resident female, who arrived in 2012.
Falcons have been nesting at the building for 13 years, producing 48 eggs and 40 hatchlings. Of these, 13 males and 16 females have survived. Only one of last year’s clutch of four eggs hatched. According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, there are now 32 pairs of peregrine falcons nesting at various locations across the state.
Viewers can expect the first egg of the 2013 breeding season to be laid the first week in March. The eggs should begin to hatch around mid-May and the young falcons, or eyases, should start to take their first flights in mid-June.
For more information, to sign up to receive the Falcon Wire e-newsletter, or to watch the falcons live, visit www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/falcon .
Nest watchers can also keep tabs on the upcoming activities of the great blue heron nest in Sapsucker Woods via the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at cams.allaboutbirds.org/channel/8/Great_Blue_Herons/?pid=2433. Recent visitors to that nest have been a great horned owl and a red-tailed hawk.